In the short story “Father and Son” written by “Bernard MacLaverty”, it displays a poor relationship between father and son. In this story both characters, the father and son continuously are in conflict in their relationship due to their pasts. The story shares both perspectives of the characters by switching between the two as narrators. Throughout the story the troubles the two go through with each other is evident. The father constantly questioning what it would take for his son to open up to him and to love him again. The story concludes with the sons supposedly “friends” arriving at the door shooting him dead in his own home. The father only being able to show his son love when he most needed it as he bled to death in his arms.
Quote: “I love him so much it hurts but he won’t talk to me. He tells me nothing” (MacLaverty 1).
Explanation: This shows a glimpse of the relationship shared between the son and the father. From this quote it is clear they do not get along very well and lack effective communication together. The emotional setting can also be found through
this quote as the relationship the two share is dark and pessimistic.
2) Initiating Incident
Quote: “Your hand shakes in the morning, Da, because you’re a coward.” (MacLaverty 2).
Explanation: This quote is the first instance where both father and son carry these thoughts about each other. It fits as an initiating incident as we know more about what the father thinks of the son, but instead the son narrates the thoughts in his head. He is aware about his father as his father continuously questions him and worries for him. It shows the hatred the son has towards his father through everything they’ve been through. This quote shows what initiates the conflict between them.
3) Rising Action
Quote: “’Why don’t you tell me where you are?’ ‘Because I never know where I am’” (MacLaverty 2).
Explanation: In this quote we can see how progressively worse their relationship becomes. The son does not speak about what he is up to and shares minimal information with his father. The father continues to ask his son questions similar to the one in the quote. This shows the care and worry he has for his son as he just wants to know simply where he is. This is the first of instances that show their horrible relationship with each other. This quote shows how their relationship progressively builds up to the climax.
4) Rising Action
Quote: “My son, I am sorry. I do it because I love you. Let me put my arm around you and talk like we used to on the bus from Toome. Why do you fight away from me?” (MacLaverty 3).
Explanation: In this quote the father is apologizing for the way he acts and treats him. He apologizes as he feels the burden is on him for the poor relationship they have. It is evident that this point of the story showcases the turmoil between the two. They both butt heads and it is obvious the father wants to fix that. This is an example of the clash between the two and how their relationship worsens asit builds up to the climax.
5) Rising Action
Quote: “The door swings open and he pushes a hand-gun beneath the pillow” (MacLaverty 3).
Explanation: This quote is a good example of rising action. The father in the story finds his son hiding a gun under his pillow. At this point of the story it is clear the father has the greatest worry for his son. It also foreshadows for the audience about what potentially will happen at the end of the story.
Quote: “There is a bang. A dish-cloth drops from my hand and I run to the kitchen door. Not believing I look into the hallway. There is a strange smell. My son is lying on the floor” (MacLaverty 3).
Explanation: This quote perfectly presents what the climax of the story was. The father finds his son shot in his own home and this event carries the most amount of suspense and emotion. The reader was also foreshadowed for this part in the story from clues such as a gun hidden under the son’s pillow.
7) Falling Action
Quote: “The news has come to my door. The house is open to the night. There is no one else. I go to him with damp hands. ‘Are you hurt?’” (MacLaverty 3).
Explanation: This quote represents the falling action in this story. Before the ending of the story is revealed the reader realizes this moment in time there is no one there for his sonbut him. This key moment of the story shows how the father reacts and how the end of this situation will conclude.
Quote: “I take my son’s limp head in my hands and see a hole in his nose that should not be there. At the base of his nostril. My son, let me put my arms around you” (MacLaverty 3).
Explanation: This last quote of the story shows how the father felt for his son. Throughout all they have been through all his father wanted to be able to do was to care and love his son. The end of the story shows how the only time his father was able to care and show him love in time of need was when he was lying shot on the floor. The reader can imply what happens after this quote as it is not clear as to what exactly happens after the shooting.